New Forest for the Nation competition launched

Major multi-million-pound grant funding competition in pursuit of the new Forest for the Nation.


First announced in November, the competition is part of the Government’s plans to help people access nature, plant more trees and support nature recovery. The England Trees Action Plan and Environmental Action Plan set out ambitious targets to treble tree planting rates by the end of this Parliament and to achieve at least 16.5% of tree and woodland cover by 2050.

Inspired by the success of the original National Forest which transformed a large area of the Midlands from an industrial landscape to a thriving 200 square mile tree-scape rich with wildlife. The new Forest for the Nation is set to build on that achievement with the aim of transforming more local communities and landscapes.

Organisations from across England are invited to put forward their local areas to become the new Forest for the Nation, with the winning bid announced in the autumn and receiving up to £10 million to help fund their project. Bids are invited from across England and can include partnerships which involve connecting and enhancing existing woodlands.

The competition will put local people at its heart with the winning applicant needing to tell a compelling story of how the new forest will benefit local communities but also have a national impact for people, nature and the environment. Projects could include those that show real innovation in woodland and forest creation and other forms of tree planting, have a transformational impact for nature recovery in the area or boost community engagement with woodlands.

Forestry Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We are investing in our communities and the new Forest for the Nation will not only boost tree-planting in local areas, but will create a lasting legacy and benefit future generations. More trees means more green jobs, more wildlife, more nature recovery and more timber. This will have a positive impact on local people and their communities enabling a more sustainable future.”

Forestry Commission Chair Sir William Worsley said: “Trees bring multiple benefits for future generations, and the new Forest for the Nation will improve access to nature and connect more people with our countryside to boost health and wellbeing. The Forest for the Nation will learn from the success of the National Forest in transforming lives of local people, preventing nature loss and creating green jobs, and I urge organisations to consider applying before the deadline.”

National Forest Company Chief Executive John Everitt said: “This competition provides a platform for new projects to come together at a landscape scale and demonstrate real ambition and innovation in woodland creation, access and biodiversity. It will be a transformational opportunity for the successful project just as the National Forest has been for its 200 square miles of the Midlands”.

The first stage of the competition closes in March 2024, with the successful applicants going to stage two where they will be directly supported by the National Forest Company to work up detailed proposals.

For more information, including upcoming webinars providing potential applicants the opportunity to ask questions about the competition, visit the Forest for the Nation competition